News / USA

Obama Campaigns for Early Childhood Education

U.S. President Barack Obama reads a card during a game with children in a per-kindergarten classroom at College Heights early childhood learning center in Decatur, Georgia, February 14, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama reads a card during a game with children in a per-kindergarten classroom at College Heights early childhood learning center in Decatur, Georgia, February 14, 2013.
Kent Klein
U.S. President Barack Obama was on the road again Thursday, seeking public support for increasing government spending on early childhood education. Obama is campaigning for the proposals he laid out in Tuesday’s State of the Union speech.

The president visited a preschool in the southern city of Decatur, Georgia, where he played games with small children and spoke to adults about the importance of early childhood education.  

“Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road," said President Obama. "But here is the thing: We are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance.”

Obama said the gap in academic achievement between poor and wealthier students in high school has its roots in children as young as three and four-years-old.  

“Most middle-class parents cannot afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool," said Obama. "And for the poor children who need it the most, the lack of access to a great preschool education can have an impact on their entire lives.  And we all pay a price for that.”

The president’s plan would enlarge the existing Head Start program, in which the government pays for public preschool for four-year-olds from low-income families.  The federal government and all 50 states would fund the expanded program.

Obama wants to let communities and child care providers compete for grants to serve children ages three and younger.

White House officials say the president will detail how much the program will cost when he sends his 2014 budget proposal to Congress in March.

Obama’s second term agenda includes redesigning and improving America’s high schools, and more government help in paying for college.

Some Republican lawmakers say they are skeptical about the president’s plan.  John Kline, who leads a House of Representatives committee on education, said the government has a poor record of managing early childhood education programs.

While the president was advocating increased public spending on education, his education secretary, Arne Duncan, was on Capitol Hill, urging senators to prevent pending budget cuts.

Duncan said the potential reductions could devastate current students and hurt the nation’s economy for years to come.  He said cutting the budget for early childhood education would be “education malpractice.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs